March 3, 2012
Courtesy of Austin Staton, CollegeBaseballDaily.com
Godley needed just 68 pitches to get through a career-high seven innings as he picked up his second win of the year.
Tennessee's win over the 16th-ranked Longhorns was its first over a ranked team since it swept a doubleheader against then No. 15 Vanderbilt on April 25, 2010.
The Vols have outscored their opponents 21-2 in the first two innings of games this season.
Zack Godley needed just 68 pitches to get through a career-high seven innings en route to his second win of the season.
HOUSTON - Tennessee put four runs on the board in the first inning, Zack Godley threw a career-high seven strong innings and the Volunteers held off a late Texas rally to defeat the No. 16 Longhorns, 5-4, on Saturday afternoon at Minute Maid Park as part of the Houston College Classic.
"In this atmosphere, I can say any cliché I want, but that was a big win for our team right there," Tennessee head coach Dave Serrano said. "I mean, the confidence -- I'm grateful that we're able to be in this tournament because it kind of prepares our team for what we're about to go into in a couple weeks with the SEC competition we have. That was a big win. There's no ifs, ands or buts about it. We try to say it's just another game, it wasn't just another game. We played the University of Texas and we were able to come out on top.
"Even more than the win of this game, I'm proud of this team for how it responded to last night. It wasn't a good feeling last night in that clubhouse, wasn't a good feeling as I went back to the hotel room, but they responded. That's the one thing I can say about this group is that they've responded every time that we've challenged them or they've done something that they've had to overcome themselves."
Tennessee improved to 8-2 on the season with its first win over a ranked team since it swept a doubleheader against then No. 15 Vanderbilt on April 25, 2010, in Knoxville. Texas falls to 4-6 with the loss.
Godley needed just 68 pitches to get through seven innings, allowing three runs on eight hits and striking out three to improve to 2-0 on the season.
"I was excited to give him this opportunity," Serrano said. "He's been pretty mellow through this whole deal, especially given the fact that he hasn't started a game in his career here. I'm proud of how he stepped up here today. It wasn't perfect, you know, he gave up some hits. I give credit to Texas, they made him pay for some balls up in the zone with two strikes, but he stayed within himself and he deserved that win today."
Sophomore Nick Williams worked the final two innings to pick up his second save of the season and sixth of his career, placing him in a tie for 10th all-time in the UT record book.
Texas starter Hoby Milner (1-2) suffered the loss after yielding five runs, four earned in four innings.
The Vols wasted little time jumping on Milner, plating four runs in the first inning. A leadoff walk by Luther set the tone. After a throwing error on a bunt attempt and a perfect bunt single by Chris Pierce, Steckenrider struck the first blow of the contest with a little flare to left that dropped in for a two-RBI single.
Two batters later, Morgan gave the Big Orange a quick 4-0 advantage with another single to left, plating Steckenrider and Chris Fritts who had reached on a fielder's choice.
Texas got one of the runs back in the top of the third on an RBI single by Tim Maitland
The Vols tacked on another tally in the bottom of the fifth to jump ahead 5-1. Luther led off the frame with a two-strike single to left and Osborne followed by pulling a bunt back and ripping a double into the corner in left to bring Luther home all the way from first.
The Longhorns got back within striking distance with two runs in the seventh, getting an RBI double by Jacob Felts and a run-scoring single by Brooks Marlow.
In the ninth, Texas got a leadoff walk but Williams looked to have the Tennessee victory in his sights with an 0-2 count on Marlow. The Longhorn second baseman ripped a long triple to center, however, to cut the Vol lead to just one. Williams was able to buckle down though, getting Mark Payton to pop out to second to end the game.
The Vols have now defeated the Longhorns in the only two meetings between the two schools, having also picked up a 6-5 victory in the 2008 Houston College Classic.
Tennessee will close out its stay at Minute Maid Park with a 6 p.m. CT showdown against No. 4 Rice on Sunday. Junior right-hander Nick Blount (2-0, 1.50) will get the start on the hill for the Vols, while the Owls have yet to announce a starting pitcher.